The new equations with BJP have also begun to create new leaders in Shiv Sena, or so it seems. Regular faces seem to be making way for new ones who are soon turning into trusted aides of the chief. The growth of one of them Shiv Sena Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Anil Desai is evident as he holds meetings in Delhi and Mumbai with BJP leaders.
But a few others in the party have also gained in stature. One such name is Vinayak Raut. He represents Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha from the Konkan region. As per sources in the party, Raut has turned into Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s trusted aide, along with Desai. Thackeray is also taking the help of another party member, Anil Trivedi, whenever his personal assistant, Milind Narvekar, is absent.
Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai (in white)
A senior leader in the party said a new set of leaders is being considered by Thackeray to tackle the issues that have cropped up in the recent past with the BJP. The regular faces, such as Sanjay Raut who used to handle everything for the party in Delhi, and deal with other parties, have faded now. Desai, who is calling the shots on behalf of Thackeray from the front, and Raut, who has become Thackeray’s trusted man in the party, handle almost everything.
It was Raut who defeated Narayan Rane’s son and sitting MP Nilesh Rane from the Konkan, which was once a Sena bastion but went to Congress after Rane’s exit. Raut was given the task of making public the announcement that Thackeray wouldn’t attend the swearing-in ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis. It was only after this that there were rumours that Thackeray received calls from BJP’s high command, requesting him to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
“He (Raut) now attends almost every meeting of the party and is now part of the core committee of the Sena, which earlier had a selected few. In the Sena, whatever Matoshree decides is the final word, but it seems that in the decisions, even Raut and Desai are playing a vital role. The two MPs have become the face of the party, and are now part of most important discussions,” said a senior party leader.
Meanwhile, at the mayor’s bungalow, which Thackeray visits every evening (whenever he is in Mumbai) on his walk, he is attended to by Trivedi. Sena sent Trivedi to the BMC to be Shraddha Jadhav’s personal assistant when she was mayor. Later, he was shifted to the mayor’s bungalow. A senior leader said, “Trivedi, who stays in Dombivli, has gotten close to Thackeray in the past few days. Trivedi also tries to fill the void when Narvekar is not present.”